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Biomaterials. 2009 Sep;30(27):4573-80. doi: 10.1016/j.biomaterials.2009.05.011. Epub 2009 Jun 4.

Neurite infiltration and cellular response to electrospun polycaprolactone scaffolds implanted into the brain.

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Department of Materials Engineering, Division of Biological Engineering, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia.


Assessment of axonal infiltration and guidance within neural tissue engineering scaffolds, along with the characterisation of the inflammatory response, is critical in determining these scaffolds' potential for facilitating neural repair. In this study, the extent of microglial and astrocytic response was measured following implantation of electrospun poly(epsilon-caprolactone) (PCL) scaffolds into the caudate putamen of the adult rat brain. The inflammation peaked at around 4 days (microglia) and 7 days (astrocytes) and subsided to homeostatic levels by 60 days. There was no evidence of microglial encapsulation and indeed neurites had infiltrated the implants, evidence of scaffold-neural integration. Whilst the inflammatory response was uninfluenced by the degree of PCL fibre alignment, the extent of neurite entry was. Large porosity, as was the case with the randomly orientated polymer fibres, enabled neurite infiltration and growth within the scaffold. However, neuronal processes could not penetrate scaffolds when fibres were partially aligned and instead, preferentially grew perpendicular to the direction of PCL fibre alignment at the implant-tissue interface i.e. perpendicular, not parallel, contact guidance was provided. This investigation shows that electrospun PCL fibres are compatible with brain tissue and provide preliminary insights regarding the influence of microglia and astrocytes in neural integration within such scaffolds.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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